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Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
Titan Field can certainly be seen as a multi-purpose outdoor venue. The University of Detroit Mercy hosts home games for its men’s and women’s track and field teams, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and the field can also host football games, even though UDM has not had a program since 1964.
Set in its beautiful McNichols campus, UDM soccer plays in front of a surprisingly large and supportive crowd. With no lights surrounding the field, you know that all of the soccer matches will be daytime affairs, so if you’re near Detroit, and the weather looks nice, then check the schedule and you may find a very affordable and enjoyable sports treat.
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There is a small food cart located near the entrance to the seating area at Titan Field with a very basic menu. In its entirety, the menu consists of hot dogs ($3), bags of chips ($1.50), and candy ($2). The drink selection includes Coke products ($3), bottled water ($2), and Powerade ($3). The hot dog is decent and worth the price, but if you are hungry, then consider getting something before or after the game, or stopping at one of the many fast food joints along Livernois Ave and bringing something with you. Then again, with free admission and parking, you may want to buy a snack here just to support the program.
About 40 minutes before kickoff you'll begin to hear music blaring from near the Detroit Titans bench as players from both sides warm up. It helps to serve notice to all those on campus that something is about to begin. The main athletic facility for Detroit is Calihan Hall, and Titan Field is located right next door. In fact, during the national anthem for soccer games, it is the flag in front of Calihan Hall that fans turn towards during the Star Spangled Banner.
As the Detroit Titans are introduced, you'll hear that intoxicating music from Europe's Champions League, the UEFA Champions League Anthem.
Seating consists of two sets of metal bleachers with eight rows in each section. Many other fans choose to stand along the chain link fence as well, including the most ardent of student section. The seats are reasonably comfortable, but if you have back trouble, then you would be wise to bring a chairback, or get there early enough to secure a seat in the back row, so you can lean up against the railing.
The field is turf with the lines for football dominating the visual scope for fans. Soccer utilizes the yellow lines. There is also a black running track that surrounds the pitch, adding a little extra distance between the stands and the field, but it doesn't affect the experience very much.
The scoreboard, installed in 2011, is located in the northeast corner of the facility, and offers the basic information necessary for you to enjoy the contest. If you're new to college soccer, you may be surprised to see that the clock counts down to zero, and play stops right at the buzzer, with no added time as you see in professional soccer.
The Detroit Mercy campus is pretty and well worth walking around a bit if you have the time before the game and the weather is nice. At its heart is the lovely clock tower which was finished in 1926. The clock tower is 175 feet in height and is dedicated to "the University of Detroit men who died in the World War 1914-1918." The university is a Jesuit school, and you'll also find several Christian statues around campus.
The campus itself is in an area that would not exactly be called a hot spot in terms of travel and tourism. Most of the area is surrounded by small shops, gas stations, and fast food restaurants. If you do want to stay in the area and find a place for a meal, then I would recommend the 1917 American Bistro, located about a mile and a half from Titan Field.
Like many of the more minor college sports, soccer at UDM gets a good share of its fans from the friends and family of the players. However, this is also a place where the various athletic teams support each other. You'll likely see a group of basketball players, softball players, and other athletes at the game cheering on their fellow Titans.
Just minutes before kickoff, you'll find a contingent of students walking over from the direction of Calihan Hall. Dressed in school colors, and carrying a Detroit Titans flag, these students bring a whole new energy to the simple venue, and really help to make the experience special.
When you arrive at the University of Detroit, you'll find a gated campus and a security guard checkpoint as you turn off of McNichols Road. There is a large parking lot to your left and you should be able to find a space right next to Titan Field, free of charge.
If you would prefer to take public transportation, there is some bus service available in the area. But your best bet is to drive. Traffic in the area will usually not be a problem, nor will exiting the campus after the game.
Inside the venue, there is a handicap accessible ramp and limited seating.
Admission is free. Parking is free. Concession items are scant, but affordable. Even if you splurge, you'll spend less than $10 per person for an enjoyable afternoon of soccer. It's a pretty bare bones experience, but it is certainly worth the price.
There aren't too many extras here at Titan Field. They do make a simple one sheet program available so you can know the names and such of the players for both sides. I also really enjoy the Champions League anthem played during introductions, as well as having a chance to stroll around the UDM campus.
Going to see a college soccer game is a great way to spend an autumn afternoon, especially when the weather cooperates. Titan Field isn't about to make it on to anyone's bucket list, but it is certainly a sports experience that is well worth the price. If you're in the Detroit area, and the sun is shining, then consider making a trip to Titan Field.
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